Councillors approve plan for church group to convert warehouse despite recommendation to refuse

Huntingdonshire District Council's development panel approved the plan.

Huntingdonshire District Council's development panel approved the plan. - Credit: Archant

After a seven-year search a church is celebrating after being given permission for its first permanent home.

The International Prayer Palace Church has been given the go-ahead to convert a warehouse and offices in Willow Road, Lakes Business Park, in Fenstanton, into a place of worship.

Pastor Joyce Nyante, who teaches at the church, said: “We have been looking for a space since 2009 and we have never stopped searching. Today [Monday] the dream has been realised. We are going to go crazy when we get in there.”

Currently the church and its parishioners travel to wherever there is a free space to worship throughout the week and are expected to move into the unit in a couple of months.

The proposal was approved by Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management panel last Monday (August 16).

The decision came despite a recommendation to turn down the development from council’s planning officer, Dallas Owen, who in her report, concluded that it was an “inappropriate location outside of the nearest community/settlements”.

Ms Owen also stated that there were unsuitable transport and it had “limited economic benefit”.

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The application, which was submitted in April this year, stated that the building would be used as a place of worship, with various services and bible study throughout the week

It will also be used for a crèche, youth support group, mother and baby group and as part of the youth and offender support activities along with counselling and advice will be provided on seeking employment and personal development.

John Dadge, from planning agent Barker Storey Matthews said: “I am truly delighted with the outcome. Councillors considered the issues and found that on balance the proposal was acceptable and it is fantastic that the church can now move to a new, permanent well designed home.”